ISIS leader with £3.5million price on head for killing US soldiers assassinated
A notorious ISIS leader with a $5million (£3.5m) tag on his head for killing US Special Forces soldiers has been assassinated by the French military in West Africa .
Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, who was in his late 40s, was “neutralised” four years after ordering a deadly ambush in Niger during which four US servicemen died et al. were wounded.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that Al- Sahraoui, who also used the name Lehbib Ould, was finally dead.
Mr Macron wrote during a tweet: “Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the terrorist organization Islamic State within the Greater Sahara was neutralised by French forces.
“This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups within the Sahel,’ he said, pertaining to a huge area of mainly desert land in Africa where groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda operate.
There was no initial information on what was wont to kill Al-Sahraoui, or where or when the attack happened, but an Élysée Palace spokesman said the ISIS leader “was definitely dead”.
In August, Mr Macron said he would be pulling many of his troops out of the Sahel – which covers numerous African countries including Niger and Mali – following anti-terrorist operations codenamed Serval and Barkhane that were resulting in mounting French losses.
But the President said Special Forces supported by airpower including armed drones would continue the search for lead terrorists.
Mr Macon wrote: “The nation is thinking tonight of all its heroes who died for France within the Sahel, within the Serval and Barkhane operations, of the bereaved families, of all of its wounded.
“Their sacrifice isn’t vainly . With our African, European and American partners, we’ll continue this fight.”
In October 2019, The US State Department offered “up to $5million” for any information resulting in the capture or killing of Al-Sahraoui.
It followed an ISIS ambush in Niger in October 2017 which led to the deaths of Army Sgt David Johnson, 25; Staff Sgt Bryan Black, 35; Staff Sgt Jeremiah Johnson, 39; and Staff Sgt Dustin Wright, 29.
Four Nigerien troops were also killed within the attack, and two American soldiers and eight Nigerien soldiers were severely wounded.
Morocco-born Al-Sahrawi claimed responsibility for the ambush in January 2018, as he built up his reputation within ISIS.
Adnan Abou Walid Al-Sahraoui also admitted to “personally ordering” the assassination of six French aid workers and their local guide and driver in August 2020.
All were murdered by a team of ISIS gunman on motorbikes as after they depart on a visit to the Kouré Giraffe Reserve, in Niger.
Al-Sahrawi started his adult life fighting a guerrilla war against Moroccan forces within the Western Sahara , before joining various jihadi groups that merged with ISIS in 2015.
He was said to possess been lightly wounded during a fire fight with Al-Qaeda loyalists a year later, but continued to steer operations, mainly against government forces seen as being pro-west.
Al-Sahrawi, who was married, came on the brink of being killed by the French in February 2018, almost Méneka, in Mali, but ‘escaped on foot within the middle of the night with a number of his men,’ consistent with intelligence sources in Paris.